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Downers Grove

Three candidates enter race for Downers Grove mayor

Olsen, two commissioners vie to replace Tully

DOWNERS GROVE - The Downers Grove mayoral race will be a three-way affair.

Commissioners Bob Barnett and Marge Earl along with State Rep. David Olsen have filed petitions to appear on the April ballot to succeed Mayor Martin Tully.

Tully, the mayor since 2011, cannot run for re-election because of term limits. He lost his race for a seat on the DuPage County Board in the Nov. 6 election.

Olsen lost his bid for re-election as well. He was defeated by a political newcomer Anne Stava Murray of Naperville.

But in the days following his defeat, Olsen he was encouraged by friends and neighbors to run for mayor.

"It wasn't something that was on my radar screen a month ago. That's for sure," Olsen said. "The people reached out."

Olsen, a former member of the Village Council, gathered petitions on the weekend before Thanksgiving and said the response was overwhelming.

A former member of the College of DuPage Board of Trustees, Olsen plans to highlight his varied experience in the race.

"I see in this three-way field an opportunity to distinguish myself," he said.

He added that he's not concerned about the potential hit to his political future if he loses the mayoral race six months after being defeated by Stava-Murray.

"There's political risk, personal risk. I'm not worried about that," Olsen said.

Earl, who was appointed to fill Olsen's seat on the Village Council and subsequently ran for a four-year term, said she was approached by residents to consider running for mayor.

"If I win, I win. If I don't I'll be sorry," said Earl, who has two years remaining on her commissioner's term.

Earl also distinguished herself from Barnett, who has long eyed the mayor's seat, she said.

"Bob's been positioning for this for several years," she said. "I haven't."

In addition to time on the Village Council, Earl has served on the Zoning Board of Appeals, two comprehensive plan committees and an ad hoc committee that examined affordable housing.

"I'm running because I think I'm the right person for the job," she said.

Barnett, a member of the Village Council since 2009, has had intentions of running for mayor for several months.

He could not be reached for comment, but explained his reasons for running in a Nov. 19 Facebook post.

"This is our community and for many, it's where we make our single biggest investment and where we raise our families," Barnett said. "It's where we establish roots and memories. Every challenge we face is an opportunity to make our community safer, stronger, more appealing, more accepting, more innovative, more welcoming--a better investment for residents and businesses alike."

Prior to serving on the Village Council, Barnett was a member of the Grove Foundation and the Downers Grove Liquor Commission.

Professionally, Barnett is head of production operations at BarnettBates Corporation, a family-owned manufacturing firm.

Commissioner Bill White, who was considering a run for mayor, and collected petition signatures for both mayor and commissioner, did not submit petitions for either seat. He has served on the council since 2015.

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